Declaring a 'new day,' Arundel executive-elect names agency heads Owens gets resignation of Police Chief Tolliver

December 05, 1998|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Devon Spurgeon contributed to this article.

Anne Arundel County Executive-elect Janet S. Owens said yesterday that she hopes to bring a "new day" to county government by making several key changes in the county administration.

Owens, who will be sworn in tomorrow, named new heads for the county's police, parks, public information and land-use departments.

She asked for the resignation of Police Chief Larry W. Tolliver, a close ally of outgoing Executive John G. Gary, at a brief meeting Thursday afternoon.

Tolliver had asked county police officers to appear in Gary's campaign advertisements.

She also named a former assistant director of the University of Maryland Medical System, Linda Gilligan, as her chief of staff.

In addition, she selected the county's veteran central services administrator, Jerome W. Klasmeier, as her chief administrative officer.

Gilligan replaces Sam Minnette, who will stay in the administration as special projects coordinator, responsible for projects such as civilian use of the Navy's David Taylor Research Center.

Gilligan is a sister-in-law of former County Councilman Michael Gilligan, one of Owens' strongest supporters during the campaign.

Klasmeier replaces Thomas C. Andrews, who resigned to become the county's acting land-use officer. Andrews will replace Ronald Nelson, who said yesterday that he resigned so that he could return to his environmental consulting firm and spend more time with his family.

"In every way, through all of my employees, I want to send the message that this is a new day for Anne Arundel County," Owens said. "We are going to have an open door. In fact, on Monday, after my inauguration, I hope to open my offices on the fourth floor of the Arundel Center to all citizens."

The most controversial change was the replacement of Tolliver, who resigned yesterday.

Tolliver will be replaced on an interim basis by Deputy Police Chief Tom Shanahan. A committee will perform a national search for a permanent chief.

Shanahan, 45, has served 25 years on the county police force.

Owens said she was deeply disturbed that uniformed county police officers posed for photographs in Gary's campaign literature.

She said that political use of the force violated department rules and procedures, and that a complaint about it has been submitted to the county's Ethics Commission for investigation.

"The incident over the police officers in the campaign picture really bothered me," Owens said. "I have said several times that I really want to emphasize honesty and integrity in my administration."

The incoming county executive also said that she wanted to choose her own top law-enforcement officer. She said she would like to find someone with a "community-based" philosophy of police work.

Tolliver, 53, superintendent of the Maryland State Police before Gary tapped him for the Anne Arundel job, said his department has "many things to be proud of."

"I am very pleased with the professionalism of the police department I have worked with," he said yesterday. "I think it is second to none in the state, probably the nation."

Owens said one of her top priorities will be lobbying the state for extra money to renovate the county's deteriorating schools.

To assist in this effort, she named former Annapolis Alderman Carl O. Snowden as one of the county's legislative liaisons. He will join Catherine Kelly, who performs lobbying work for the county.

Snowden said he was delighted to get word of his appointment '' yesterday.

"Beyond the fact that I have a good working relationship with the members of the General Assembly, I'm also someone who has worked on legislative matters extensively on the City Council," said Snowden, who is credited with helping to get out the Democratic vote last month.

One of Owens' strongest and earliest supporters in her campaign, former Annapolis Mayor Dennis M. Callahan, was named to replace Tom Angelis as director of the county's Department of Recreation and Parks.

William F. Chaney, who was Owens' campaign treasurer, said the half-dozen resignations announced yesterday had nothing to with the employees' job performance.

"It's just that when there's a change in administration, there is always a change in the guard. You want your own people in there," Chaney said.

In Klasmeier, Owens selected a 31-year veteran of county and state government.

He was the county's central services officer under Gary and previously worked for 17 years with the state Department of General Services.

Gary's wife, Ruthanne Gary, will be transferred from her position as the county's community services officer to a job fielding citizen complaints in the county's land-use office, Owens said.

Pub Date: 12/05/98

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